KKR-backed Capmark eyes bankruptcy after $1.6bn loss

A Capmark bankruptcy could lead to one of the biggest private equity losses ever. KKR, Five Mile Partners and Goldman Sachs invested $2.1bn in equity in the company in 2006.

Capmark Financial, backed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Five Mile Partners and Goldman Sachs, may be forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reporting $1.6 billion of losses in the second quarter, thanks to its investments in loans and property.

The real estate finance firm Wednesday said it had already agreed to sell its North American mortgage business to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the holding company Leucadia National Corporation for $490 million.

However Capmark, which manages value-added and opportunistic commingled funds and separate accounts through its investment arm, Capmark Investments, added it may also file for bankruptcy protection as well as sell other parts of its operations, including the Utah industrial bank Capmark Bank.

“Our restructuring efforts may also include a reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code, the sale of certain additional businesses and/or a material contribution of cash and/or assets into Capmark Bank,” the firm said in a statement.

KKR, real estate investor Five Mile Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners took a 78 percent stake in Capmark in a $16.8 billion deal in 2006. The consortium invested $2.1 billion of equity, according to KKR investment documents, however KKR has since written its investment down to zero or near zero, according to an earnings report filed by KKR-affiliate KKR Private Equity Investors.

Capmark was called GMAC Commercial Holding before the deal, after which it changed its name to Capmark. Capmark was the commercial mortgage division of GMAC Financial

A bankruptcy could lead to one of the largest private equity losses ever. Similar-sized losses occurred when TPG's $2 billion stake in Washington Mutual was wiped out in 2008 after the government seized the dying bank and sold it to JPMorgan. Now-defunct buyout shop Forstmann Little took a $1.5 billion loss on its deals for XO Communications and McLeodUSA.

Reporting its second quarter results, Capmark said it lost $1.6 billion in the three months to the end of June, compared to net income of $11.5 million one year previously. Its losses on loans, investments and real estate alone were $656 million in the three months to June. The firm took a $291.3 million hit on its Asia real estate investments, it added. The firm lost $494 million in its Asia operations.

The sale of its North American servicing and mortgage banking businesses to Berkshire would likely take place irrespective of a Chapter 11 filing.

In agreeing a put option, Capmark said if it didn’t file for bankruptcy, Berkadia III, the vehicle sponsored by Berkshire and Leucadia, would pay $375 million in cash for the business, hold $40 million back to cover indemnity claims and allow Capmark to offset a $75 million note against its losses. If the sale happened inside bankruptcy proceedings, Berkadia would pay $415 million in cash and the $75 million note.

The US banking regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), is now also in the process of issuing an administrative order against Capmark requiring it to submit capital and liquidity plans and placing restrictions on certain activities.

In December, Capmark applied for bank holding status in a bid to attract capital from the US government’s $700 billion bailout package.

Christopher Witkowsky contributed to this report.